For decades, consumers have turned to Icy Hot to relieve their aches and pains. And, in 2022, the brand took it to the next level by introducing Icy Hot PRO: a product strong enough to provide pain relief to more physically active consumers and even professional athletes. We set out to introduce Icy Hot’s product innovation in a way befitting of news this big.
To launch Icy Hot PRO, we brought in four star athletes: soccer star Rose Lavelle, Las Vegas tight end Darren Waller, tennis champion Sloane Stephens, and, of course, long term brand ambassador, Shaquille O’Neal. In an instant, these standout celebs made Icy Hot PRO culturally relevant and brought it to the top of mind for sports fans across the country.
We transported our famous athletes to a world of ice and heat to create the hottest, iciest, and most badass, high-tech pain relief demo in the history of pain relief demos. Creating the worlds of ice and heat was certainly a challenge and required meticulous visual effects work. We shot our athletes in large warehouses with minimal set design—artificial snow in the ice world and desert sand in the heat world. In post production, we painstakingly crafted glaciers, an ice floor, swirling wind, Arizona-style red rocks, and even a fiery tennis ball projectile.
The spot begins with the athletes on a bench to represent the toll it takes on an athlete’s psyche when pain forces them out of the game and onto the bench. Once Shaq applies the product, the athletes stand and charge into the ice world playing their respective sports. They all literally “Rise from Pain” in a visual representation of the campaign tagline.
Creating the worlds of ice and heat required precise editing and meticulous visual effects work. We had four athletes, two worlds, and only 30 seconds. We used aspects of each environment to create transition moments to keep the story moving at the intense pace that athletes crave. For example, clouds of snow or desert sand allowed us to switch focus from athlete to athlete. We used the glass backboard of Shaq’s basketball hoop to transition to an “under the ice” shot of a hockey player flying past the camera.
To capture all of the dynamic movements and ensure that all of the elements could be composited together in post production, we utilized a technocrane for most of the large group shots. For many of the tighter shots, we used a steadicam to get up close and personal with the athletes and the textures of our ice and heat worlds. We even hoisted a camera on a fifty foot scissor lift to capture a dynamic top-down view of the heat world.
One of the most important visual elements of the campaign is the ice and heat effects we see on the athletes’ bodies. Shaq applies the product and his arm ices over, triggering the transition to the world of ice. As the spot gains momentum, we see a heat effect on Darren Waller’s arm, which, in turn, triggers the transition to the heat world. These FX were painstakingly designed to dramatize the user experience and product benefits. A sure fire way to stay in the game in an increasingly crowded pain relief category.
Our campaign resulted in a dramatic increase in brand awareness. Visits to the Icy Hot’s website increased by 61.5% and we exceeded our sales goal by over 25%! Teaming up Rose Lavelle, Darren Waller, and Sloane Stephens with our long-standing brand ambassador, Shaquille O’Neil, resulted in the brand’s most successful new product launch ever.
Icy Hot Pro's PR Activations were also highly impactful. For example, Darren Waller’s Post Game Recovery Program garnered 1B impressions and grabbed headlines in publications like People, US Weekly, and Page Six.